Latvian Fund for Nature hosts nature restoration event to restore rare wooded meadows in Latvia

In medieval times and before, wooded meadows could be frequently found throughout Europe as hunter-gatherers created them in a sustainable dialogue with nature. In modern times, most wooden meadows fell prey to intensive agriculture. In the Baltic region, however, original wooden meadows still exist, a habitat providing the highest species densities found in Europe and beyond. But they are endangered habitats that need thoughtful conservation.

“Ziemeļgauja” is the most critical site for wooded meadows in Latvia, conserving two Fennoscandian wooded meadows umbrella species like the fungus Hapalopilus croceus and the beetle Osmoderma barnabita. It hosts more than 70% of the wooded meadows included in Natura 2000 sites of Latvia.

Picture left fungus Hapalopilus croceus and right beetle Osmoderma barnabita. Photo credits Viesturs Larmanis

In that area, on 11 June, the Latvian Fund for Nature organised a nature restoration event in the framework of the WoodMeadow LIFE project, which is about restoring and promoting long-term sustainable management of Fennoscandian wooded meadows in Estonia and Latvia. The event has been included in the LIFE ENPLC volunteering database to promote volunteering on private land.
The Fennoscandian Wooded Meadow Habitat Work Camp participants build fences around larger trees. Photo credit Ronja Seitz
Twenty-five participants took part in the nature restoration event. They helped to put fences around the larger trees to protect them from the beavers’ sharp teeth, collected cut grass and picked up branches from grasslands that remained after last winter’s clearing. Before starting the work, Latvian Fund for Nature grassland habitat expert Baiba Strazdiņa introduced the participants to the importance of natural meadows, especially wooded meadows and pastures, and their restoration.

Pictures from the nature restoration event showing volunteers working in the field. Photo credit Nora Rustanovica, Baiba Strazdina

The WoodMeadowLIFE project plans to restore 200 ha of wooded meadows and pastures in Latvia. The wooded meadow is a priority-protected habitat of European importance because it’s an excellent example of a habitat formed in a century-long coexistence of man and nature. During the project, it is planned to carry out both practical restoration works and create a network of cooperation between landowners, scientists and nature protection specialists to share experience in restoring and managing this habitat.

Latvian Fund for Nature’s mission is to preserve biological diversity in Latvia. To achieve this, the LFN is engaged in practical activities to protect the environment and educate society about the importance of biological diversity. To reach these goals more effectively, the Latvian Fund for Nature is a member of the following international environmental organisations: The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the Central and East European Working Group for the Enhancement of Biodiversity (CEE-WEB).

LIFE ENPLC Team

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